Cold Weather Camping Tips
CBN.com Guest Writer
1. The biggest rule I can stress, NO COTTON! Even when the body is cold
it puts off moisture vapor, and with cotton it gets wet and
stays wet. Mixing wet clothing with cold temperatures is a disaster
waiting to happen. That means t-shirts, boxers, socks etc…
2. Food and water are fuel to your body. Your body produces heat from burning
what you eat and drink. It is important that you stay hydrated and
consume more than the usual food (which is no problem for me)!
3. If your feet get cold, put a hat on your head. As your temperature decreases,
your body begins to pull heat away from the farthest extremities from
your heart first. Your head is the #1 spot your body releases heat. By wearing
a hat you are trapping the heat that would otherwise be lost so your
body can use it to heat the feet.
4. Always carry disposable hand-warmer or toe-warmer packets with you. The
key to these jewels is that they aren’t just for your cold hands and
feet, they are great to toss into your sleeping bag before you get
in at night. Another trick is to toss them into your boots in the morning
when you wake up so that when you go to put your boots on they will
be warm. And of course if you are standing around they are great for
the jacket pockets and boots too.
5. Keep all clothing you aren’t wearing inside your sleeping bag.
Mornings in the winter can be brutal so it’s nice to have warm clothes
to put on when you wake up.
6. Keep your water bottle under or inside your sleeping bag. Depending on
how cold it is your water can easily be a block of ice when you wake
up. Or better yet, you can purchase an insulated sleeve for your Nalgene
water bottle. This fits over around the Nalgene bottle tightly and
prevents it from freezing. Most authentic outdoor stores will sell
7. In the winter I line the bottom of my tent with an emergency blanket.
They are small and lightweight to carry and do a great job at reflecting
your body heat up instead of into the ground.
8. A Sleeping bags job is to trap heat that your body creates. Winter sleeping
bags are thicker so they can trap more heat. When you lay in your bag you
are crushing all insulation below you therefore very little heat can be trapped
to keep you warm. Ground pads or sleeping mats are made for this purpose.
Many people think they are made for comfort, which is true, but it is not
the primary function. A sleeping pads primary function is to work with the
sleeping bag to trap heat.
9. If it is really cold outside, I boil water and pour it into a Nalgene
bottle then wrap it up in a shirt or towel so I can hold it or put
it inside my jacket. It is important you have a Nalgene bottle because they
melt or lose their shape even with the extreme heat of boiling water.
The shirt or towel helps keep it from scalding your skin.
10. When you are winter camping your blood sugar can drop and it is easy
to get cold, depressed and lethargic. I have found it is a good idea
to carry jolly ranchers or some type of sugary candy as a quick pick-me-up.
Plus if you don’t need them for the pick-me-up, toss one or two in
a bottle of water adds great flavor.
11. Make sure you have the right stove for your camping conditions. There
are two categories of stoves: liquid fuel and canister fuel. Canister
fuels don’t work well in extremely cold conditions (15 degrees and
below) unless you are at a high altitude. Liquid gas stoves work anywhere
at any temperature and any altitude … but they weigh more…
12. If it is too cold stay in a hotel!
Brett Coates is an
avid outdoorsman, freelance writer, and manager of Blue Ridge Mountain Sports
(www.brms.com). He and his wife reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia where they are active
in hiking, camping and leadership ministry at their church. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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